There is a palpable sense of excitement on a day when something unusual is going to happen – like a day when, as a child, you are heading off on a summer holiday - early morning, dad packs the Ford Consul and traces an index finger over a multi-coloured map. This morning Sadie and the Hotheads are rehearsing for a live appearance on Weekend Wogan. Sir Terry Wogan, legendary Limerick City born broadcaster, a “national treasure” in the UK since the ‘60s.
Sunday morning tube train to Oxford Circus – the conversation, inevitably, is about music. At the BBC Radio 2 studios we cram into the small lift. Up on the third floor. There is Elton John’s Piano – a Yamaha grand that was lugged up for a performance. Getting the piano to the third floor allegedly proved to be such a hassle that Elton left it there as a ‘donation’ to the BBC. A sign reads “Feel free to have a play but please check with anyone in the vicinity if it will disturb them”. The show is live at 11:00am. 10:30 we sound-check in the studio; two acoustic guitars and three voices. There is something pure about an unplugged performance…..
Sir Terry is genuinely funny, charming, relaxing and a bona fide professional. In the studio the red light goes on – we play LA Days and Drops of Rain, chat… then it’s over. Back down in the lift, handed in our passes at the desk on the way out. Outside the front door a lone autograph hunter holds up a coloured poster of Lady Cora; Elizabeth obliges and signs. We meet the great Huey Morgan, front-man with the Fun Lovin’ Criminals and broadcaster for BBC 6 Music and Radio 2 – on his way to present The Huey Show on 6 Music. He’s wearing a heavy, US Marine camouflage jacket and says “I was in the marines and they keep sending me them, it’s very warm.” It is said that as a juvenile he was in trouble with the law – given a choice of jail or the marines he chose the latter, a subject dealt with in his song The Grave and the Constant. He says in his New York drawl “Hey, I didn’t realise, it’s Elizabeth McGovern”.